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This activity introduces two different representations of spectra: the photographic representation, such as the rainbow, and the graphical representation used more often by astronomers. A rainbow is often given as an everyday example of a spectrum. Most students have seen a rainbow, so this example is used to help make the unfamiliar more familiar. However, the spectra that scientists use, which students will see in this lesson plan, appear very different than a rainbow. In this activity, students will explore for themselves two different representations of the same spectrum, noting advantages and disadvantages of each. They will explore the differences and similarities of both these representations, and will develop a more intuitive feel for a graphical representation, which may not yet be familiar to them.
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